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Frequently Asked Questions About Classical Acupuncture at the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing
Frequently Asked Questions About Classical Chinese Acupuncture at the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing
1. What is the difference between Classical Chinese Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
Please refer to the section entitled ‘What is Classical Chinese Acupuncture?’ for a brief description of the differences between Classical Chinese Acupuncture and TCM.
2. What can acupuncture treat?
Classical Chinese Acupuncture, which is distinct from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), utilizes a complete theoretical and clinical understanding of all 68 acupuncture meridians, allowing for treatment of virtually any condition. With that being said, the following is a list of ailments treatable by acupuncture according to the World Health Organization. This is by no means a complete list of everything that can be treated by acupuncture. Please inquire with us if you do not see your condition listed.
Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders
Colds and flu
Rotator cuff problems
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Urinary Tract Infections
Addictions to Cigarettes, Alcohol, Drugs
3. Is acupuncture painful?
The sensations experienced during acupuncture vary for each person, but are generally quite comfortable. The type of treatment and needling techniques required influence the intensity of sensations felt during an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture needles are much thinner and more flexible than those used for injections or for drawing blood. There may be a small temporary pinch or sensations of tingling, heaviness, or dullness upon needle insertion, but once the needles are in place, there will be no discomfort.
The vast majority of people find acupuncture to be very relaxing and pleasant. It is not uncommon to fall asleep after the needles are inserted.
4. What can I expect from a Classical Acupuncture Session at the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing?
At the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing the initial Classical Acupuncture visit will last up to 90 minutes and will consist of a thorough medical history intake, in which you will be asked questions about your health, lifestyle issues, and anything else that may be pertinent to arriving at an accurate diagnosis. Observation of the tongue and palpation of wrist pulses will provide additional information necessary for diagnosis. The acupuncturist will organize these findings according to the theories of Chinese medicine to determine what underlying imbalances are causing your symptoms. An individualized treatment plan will be devised and an acupuncture treatment performed to help correct the imbalance. Supplemental Chinese Medical therapies such as cupping, gua-sha, moxabustion (heat therapy), and tui-na massage may also be utilized. Chinese Dietary and other lifestyle recommendations may be given and are often an important component of the healing process.
Follow-up visits last an hour.
5. Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe when performed by a licensed acupuncturist. Our acupuncturist only uses sterilized, disposable, single use needles and has been certified in CNT (Clean Needle Technique) by the CCAOM (Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine).
6. How many treatments will I need?
This varies from person to person depending on many factors. For acute conditions, such as the common cold, one treatment may suffice. For chronic or more severe conditions, a more extended course of treatment will likely be necessary. Weekly treatments are generally recommended until the patient’s condition has resolved or improved substantially. There is never any pressure to continue treatments. The acupuncturist is happy to advise the patient on a recommended treatment course, but it is always the patient’s decision whether to continue.
7. How does acupuncture work?
The following is a very brief description and perspective of how acupuncture works. By inserting hair thin needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture aids the body and mind in returning to a state of energetic balance. Once balance is re-instated, the body’s natural healing mechanisms start to function optimally, which naturally brings about a state of health and wellbeing.
In reality, there are many levels on which acupuncture works, and many mechanisms at work. Within the vast history of Chinese Medicine, there have been many different theories and ideas about various aspects of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Part of the richness of Classical Chinese Medicine is having a working understanding of many of these theories, as all the theories that have stood the test of time hold great significance and relevance in clinical practice. Being able to understand clinical situations from different perspectives and schools of thought gives many more options for treatment, as well as more chance of success. A certain framework and understanding of Chinese Medicine may be best for one patient’s condition, while another one may be more relevant for another’s. Part of the art of acupuncture, from a clinician’s standpoint, is constantly refining the ability to not only accurately diagnose, but to discern what course and type of treatment will be most beneficial for the individual at that point in time.
As a patient, as your healing process unfolds, you will gain a more thorough and experiential understanding of what acupuncture is and how it works. The acupuncturist always enjoys sharing information with interested patients about the in-depth aspects of the medicine and its theory and application.
8. How should I prepare for my acupuncture treatment?
It is not advisable to receive acupuncture on a completely empty stomach, so please make sure you have eaten within the past few hours. Please do not brush your tongue the day of your treatment as we gain key diagnostic information from the appearance of the tongue. If you are a new patient, please be as thorough as possible in filling out the new patient intake form.